Knicks could target high-flying small forward to upgrade bench scoring this offseason

Derrick Jones Jr., knicks
Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

What happens to the New York Knicks if OG Anunoby walks in free agency and a series of expected trades deplete their depth chart at forward?

The Knicks don’t want to know. They don’t want to see what the glass half empty could look like in such a scenario. That’s why Fred Katz of The Athletic posed Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. as a player the Knicks should monitor with a watchful eye in the offseason:

“Jones does not fulfill a current need, but if the Knicks make a trade that leaves them yearning for another forward, the 27-year-old could click,” Katz writes. “He’s part of the crew most responsible for the Dallas defense’s midseason turnaround. Jones will guard wings or big men. The Chicago Bulls once deployed him as their backup center. Meanwhile, his activity around Luka Doncic? and Kyrie Irving has helped make up for an inconsistent jumper. But the Mavs might be too successful to let him walk,” Katz wrote.

Knicks: Derrick Jones Jr. could play a role like Obi Toppin did in New York

Derrick Jones Jr., Knicks
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jones Jr. is an uber-athletic high-flyer who rebounds the ball well and slashes to the basket with a purpose. His game resembles former Knicks F Obi Toppin. Thus, a player of his stock could find a place in Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s lineup.

As Katz alluded to, the Pennsylvania native isn’t a great outside shooter. He connected on 34.3 percent of his looks from deep in 2023-24. Jones Jr. owns a 31.6 percent clip for his career. He made up for it with a. 7.7 percent total rebounding percentage and 0.7 steals and blocks per contest to go along with it.

Should the Knicks be worried about Jones Jr.’s outside shooting?

Derrick Jones Jr., Knicks
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Should Anunoby join another team, and the Knicks trade Bojan Bogdanovic and Julius Randle, they’ll suddenly have a need for a backup four-man that can play multiple positions. Jones Jr. could be that guy for them. He’s not trending in the direction the team was headed in 2023-24 with an emphasis on floor-spacing but makes quick enough decisions in the half-court to chip into the Knicks’ system. He could also be used in the dunker spot.

Since the Mavericks lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2024 Finals, Dallas could look to add even more upgrades next season, making Jones a potential free agent to consider.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: